PBI-Guatemala accompanies Q’eqchi’ territory defender Hipolito Pop to meeting with the Public Ministry

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On September 12, PBI-Guatemala posted:

“Today #PBI accompanies the defender of the Q’eqchi’ territory and the Cahabon and Oxec rivers, Hipolito Pop, to a conciliatory meeting at the Cahabon Public Ministry.”

PBI-Guatemala has previously explained: “Since 2015, [the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón, comprised of more than190 Q’eqchi’ communities] have organized around defense of territory and against the launch of the OXEC I and OXEC II hydroelectric projects installed on the Oxec River, a tributary of the Cahabón River.”

It adds: “During the good-faith consultation [in August 2017] PBI accompanied the consultation process relating to the hydroelectric project installed on the Cahabón river basin, operated by OXEC SA, belonging to the Energy Resources Capital Corp group (ERCC).”

Hatch Ltd., a company founded in Toronto and now based in nearby Mississauga, was involved in the construction of the OXEC II dam.

More on that at: Canada’s Hatch Ltd. and the OXEC II dam opposed by the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón.

In 2017, PBI-Guatemala noted: “On February 17 the Constitutional Court (CC) ordered to suspend the construction of Oxec I and Oxec II hydroelectric projects due to incompliance with Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which establishes the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted on projects that affect them.”

The Guatemalan Human Rights Commission has highlighted: “[In December 2017] a few months [after the August 2017 consultation on the OXEC dams], [Maya Q’eqchi’ defender] Bernardo [Caal Xol] was arrested [in] a clear act of retribution for the defense of his community’s water rights.”

In November 2018, Caal Xol was sentenced to seven years and four months in jail. He was released from prison on a judge’s order on March 24, 2022.

Last year, Digis Mak reported: “[The] Oxec private hydroelectric project has two dams and one more in the construction stage.”

The two most recently completed dams on Cahabón River are Oxec II which began operation in September 2018 and Renace IV which became operational in January 2019.

PBI-Guatemala has accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón since July 2017.

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